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Information about respecting Canadian copyright law in your work at Centennial.

Copyright Decision Tree

Copyright Decision Tree

The Copyright Decision Tree provides steps to determine whether you can use a copyright protected work in the way you would like to, both for teaching and for other purposes. Use this in conjunction with other information on this website.

Print & online materials

The table below can help you determine whether and how you can share a resource with your students. You should start at the top and work your way down until you find the appropriate tier for your resource.

 No matter where your resource appears in the table, you should always cite your source.

Copying & sharing resources

Restrictions Resources Action


Insubstantial portions (½ page or less)

U.S. government publications

Your own works

Public domain materials

Copy and share these materials without worry.


Materials licensed by the library

Open access publications

You can usually share these materials with your students, but we recommend using links.

Use CLEAR to check the permitted uses for library resources.


Online materials

You can usually share these materials with your students, but we recommend using links.

You must also ensure that:

  • The material was uploaded by, or with the consent of, the copyright holder

  • There are no digital locks preventing access to the resource

  • There are no clearly visible notices that prohibit how you want to use the resource


Materials not licensed by the library

Works not freely available online

You may be able to share short excerpts of these works with your students. See the Centennial College Fair Dealing Policy to ensure that you stay within the fair dealing limits, or contact us about negotiating copyright permissions for more substantial copying.

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